Though Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has publicly backed Derek Carr as the team’s franchise quarterback, the organization may be willing to replace the 27-year-old this offseason.
With the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders are in prime position to draft a quarterback. While this year’s crop of options seems weaker than last year’s, for example, Ohio State standout Dwayne Haskins and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray stand out as potential options. Though there’s no guarantee either will be available with plenty of smoke surrounding the New York Giants and the Arizona Cardinals, the Raiders could snag themselves a new franchise signal-caller in 2019.
However, few fans expect the Raiders to move on from Derek Carr, who once played at an MVP level a few years ago before crashing back down to earth. Carr, once again, struggled in 2018, and while Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and new general manager Mike Mayock have repeatedly stood by Carr as their franchise quarterback, the rumor mill states otherwise.
Per a report from Bleacher Report senior writer Master Tesfatsion, the Raiders were busy shopping Carr around at the NFL Combine, and Tesfatsion even linked the Jacksonville Jaguars to the former Fresno State product.
The Jaguars are one of many teams in the market for a quarterback this year, and Carr would easily be the most intriguing name available, save for maybe former Super Bowl winner Nick Foles.
Oakland may want to surround Carr with better weapons before giving up on a quarterback who once threw 32 touchdowns to 6 interceptions in a strong 2015 season and showed signs of a rebound during stretches in 2018, but Gruden and Mayock are in a position where they can create an entire team in their own image. That would include drafting and molding their own franchise quarterback.
The Raiders have already gotten rid of the organization’s previous top stars, edge rusher Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper, for first-round draft picks. They have a bevy of top picks to use in this year’ draft, but none are more valuable than the No. 4 overall pick. Since Gruden was willing to get rid of two elite players, it stands to reason he would be willing to part ways with a shaky-but-talented quarterback if the price is right. After all, he and Mayock could conceivably draft Carr’s replacement at No. 4, and there’s a chance they see someone, such as Haskins or Murray, better in this year’s draft.
This is a situation worth monitoring closely, especially if a team like Jacksonville is willing to give up significant draft capital to a Raiders team that is hungry for picks. Gruden has already hoarded three first-round draft choices this year, and since the Raiders have multiple positions of need, dealing Carr for a few more picks could give Oakland’s preferred quarterback much more to work with in 2019 and beyond.
Of course, there are a lot of “ifs” here, because Carr is a talented passer who once looked like an MVP-caliber quarterback in this league. But with his inconsistent play over the past two seasons and woes under pressure, the opportunity for the rebuilding Raiders regime to cut ties with Carr and marry themselves to a new passer may be too tantalizing to pass up on.